- A Harry Potter TV series got the green light from HBO, with each season focuing on one of J.K. Rowling’s books.
- The news was confirmed by HBO for their evolving streaming platform, MAX.
- A fourth Fantastic Beasts film is no longer happening.
Yer a wizard, Harry – again. A TV series based on the beloved Harry Potter novels has officially been ordered at HBO Max, the streamer revealed on April 12. After much speculation and rumor, it was officially confirmed during a press event held by Warner Bros. Discovery, where it was confirmed that HBO Max and Discovery+ will merge into a single streaming service called Max. With the new name, comes a new era for a story that many have grown up with world wide.
Author J.K. Rowling conceived the story of a young boy (that being Harry Potter, of course) combating evil forces as a student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in her 7 fantasy novels, beginning with 1997’s Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone. The success of the books led to Warner Bros’ blockbuster film series that spanned from 2001 to 2011 and starred Daniel Radcliffe as Harry, alongside Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, Jason Isaacs, Tom Felton, Robbie Coltrane, Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, and more.
In the years that followed the final Harry Potter film, the Harry Potter universe expanded to include the Fantastic Beasts spin-off prequel films, a Tony Award-winning stage play performed around the globe, an Emmy-nominated quiz show hosted by actress Helen Mirren, and the anniversary special, Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return To Hogwarts, which reunited the golden trio, as well as stars like Gary Olman, Helena Bonham Carter, and Robbie Coltrane, in his last appearance before his death.
As J.K. Rowling continues to receive backlash for anti-trans comments and the last Fantastic Beasts film did so poorly at the box office, it seemed like that the world of Potter might be taking an indefinite break. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s everything we know about all the upcoming Harry Potter projects.
Harry Potter Live-Action Series On Max
Here’s the thing: Harry Potter fans have craved a return to the original story they loved for years, ever since the last book hit shelves and the final film played in theaters. The problem is, what most really wanted was to explore the world within the context of the Harry Potter story they already knew. We’re talking a Voldemort prequel series that showed scenes discussed in Harry Potter & The Half Blood Prince, or even better, a Marauders show about the early years of Sirius, Lupin, James Potter and Snape. However, the project that Warner Bros. is putting together is just going back to the original text. Sigh.
The project is described as a “faithful adaptation” of each of J.K. Rowling’s seven Harry Potter books, with plans for the show to span a decade. Whether that means they’re planning 10 seasons, which seems ambitious, or a 10-year lifespan, which wouldn’t make sense since the books only follow Harry for ages 11-17, remains unclear. Still, the powers that be seem pretty jazzed about it.
“Each season will be authentic to the original books and bring Harry Potter and these incredible adventures to new audiences around the world, while the original, classic and beloved films will remain at the core of the franchise and available to watch globally,” HBO Max’s announcement reads.
“We are delighted to give audiences the opportunity to discover Hogwarts in a whole new way,” added HBO head Casey Bloys. “Harry Potter is a cultural phenomenon and it is clear there is such an enduring love and thirst for the Wizarding World. In partnership with Warner Bros. Television and J.K. Rowling, this new Max Original series will dive deep into each of the iconic books that fans have continued to enjoy for all of these years.”
Yes, you read that right:Rowling will serve as an executive producer on the series, which will likely prove problematic down the way. Meanwhile, David Heyman, once of the true masterminds behind producing all eight of the Harry Potter films, is in talks to exec-produce, as well. We’ll see how that goes.
In January 2021, news broke that a Harry Potter live-action series is in early development at HBO Max. No writers or talent had been confirmed at the time to be attached to the upcoming project, according to Hollywood Reporter. Reports also noted that the franchise has “complicated rights issues,” due to NBCUniversal’s seven-year rights deal with Warner Bros.
Two years later, the rumors continue to swirl that a reboot of the original books in a TV format — so much so, that original movie stars like Rupert Grint started to be asked if they’d return to the franchise if it was rebooted.
“I’d love to see Harry Potter be adapted into a TV show,” Rupert said to GQ Magazine UK . “I think it would really work. I’m sure the films will get remade, anyway.” As for if he’d actually star in the series, himself, that he was less enthusiastic about. “I think there’d be a feeling of passing the baton,” he added, “letting someone else play Ron. It’s weird because I’m protective over him, I could relate to him so much, and then I was picked to bring him to life. That’s hard to let go. But it would be nice to, as well.”
While Rupert may be on the fence to play Ron again, Ralph Fiennes, who brought the evil Lord Voldemort to life in the movies, admitted he’s 100% play the character again if given the chance. “Sure, of course,” Ralph told Variety in November 2022 when asked if he wants to play Voldy again. “No question about it.”
Will There Be A Fourth Fantastic Beasts Film?
The Fantastic Beasts film series, written and produced by Rowling, takes place before the events of the main Harry Potter flicks. The first film, Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, was released in November 2016 and starred Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Dan Fogler, Ezra Miller, Johnny Depp, and more. It was followed by 2018’s Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald.
The third film, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore, was released in theaters on April 15, 2022, amid the franchise being drowned in controversy. Mads Mikkelsen stepped in to replace Johnny as Grindelwald after his court battle with ex Amber Heard met its pique. This, paired with the aforementioned outrage over Rowling’s views on the trans community and star Ezra Miller running into their own trouble made it nearly impossible for the cast to promote the film. Stars like Jude Law were instead limited to just attending red carpet fan events.
It was originally the plan for the Fantastic Beast movies to carry on for 5 films, culminating with the epic battle between Dumbledore and Grindelwald. However, given the poor performance of The Secrets Of Dumbledore at the box office, as of January 2023, no word on another film has come through, not even to the stars. “I mean, at the moment, there’s nothing that I’m aware of,” Eddie Redmayne told NME in an interview about the next movie. “So, as I’m aware, it’s not something that’s on the cards.”
Harry Potter & The Cursed Child — A Movie?
The Harry Potter universe also includes the 2016 British play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, which follows Harry’s son, Albus Severus Potter, who is about to attend Hogwarts. The play premiered in London in July 2016 and then came to Broadway in New York in April 2018. It won six Tony Awards, including Best Play, in 2018. There are now productions across the globe, including in Australia.
So what about a movie based on the play? It seems to be the most logical continuation of the franchise on screen and if the studio wanted it, they’d have a director ready, willing and able at the ready in Chris Columbus, the director of the first two Harry Potter films. “I still fantasize about directing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child with the original cast,” Chris admitted in our EXCLUSIVE interview. “ I think it would be, from a nostalgic point of view and also from a fans point of view, a thrill to see our actors at their ages now playing these roles. There is just something touching about that. It is kind of like what J.J.[Abrams] did with Star Wars and why that was so wonderful.